..and The Crazy disappears: We'd planned to discuss a few moments from this past week's convention.
As it turns out, we really can't have nice things! But we'll leave two moments in.
First, regarding Joe Biden's convention speech:
We don't think we've ever seen a political speech where it seemed so clear that the speaker actually meant and believed what he was saying.
You can, of course, give a lousy speech in which you mean and believe every word. That wasn't our view of Biden's speech. More on that below.
Second, regarding the Night 4 appearance by Stephen and Alyesha Curry and their daughters, Riley Curry, just turned 8, and Ryan Curry, just turned 5:
Found poetry should be recorded. That's how we'd describe this exchange:
STEPHEN CURRY (8/20/20): Do you know where the president lives?To tell what happened to the world! Below, we'll speculate about the reason why the Currys were there.
RYAN CURRY, age 5: In the White House?
RILEY CURRY, age 8: Washington, D.C.
STEPHEN CURRY: Do you know what the president’s job is?
RYAN CURRY: To tell what happened to the world?
STEPHEN CURRY: That’s good. That’s a good one.
Biden seemed to believe every word he said; the Currys produced found poetry. This morning, though, the Washington Post began to play a bit of catch-up concerning the QAnon movement.
The New York Times published front-page reports about QAon in its Thursday and Friday print editions. Today, the Post countered with a full-length report. It appeared atop page A8, beneath this banner headline:
Trump welcomes fringe views into political mainstreamA sub-headline referred to the "baseless QAnon theory." That's where the problem comes in.
The banner headline reported that Trump has opened the door to fringe views. But what exactly are those fringe views? Incredibly, this was all the Washington Post was wiling to tell its readers:
OLORUNNIPA AND STANLEY-BECKER (8/22/20): Just as investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia were heating up in the fall of 2017, QAnon took root on Internet message boards with posts from a self-proclaimed government insider identified as “Q.” The pseudonymous figure posted cryptic clues about Trump’s impending conquest over the “deep state,” spawning an elaborate far-right worldview that came to absorb many other debunked ideas.That was it! According to this morning's report, QAnon adherents believe in "Trump’s impending conquest over the 'deep state,' " pretty much full stop.
Experts said Trump’s embrace of QAnon supporters, whose core principle is their fealty to him, is the logical conclusion of a political movement powered from the beginning by conspiracy theories.
Readers were told that this movement's "baseless" and "unfounded" beliefs have developed into "an elaborate far-right worldview that came to absorb many other debunked ideas." But at no point are readers told what those "debunked ideas" actually are.
The Satanic pedophiles didn't appear. Neither did the cannibalism, or the drinking of blood by people like Tom Hanks—and of course, by people like Hillary Clinton.
In today's report, we're told that the movement's "baseless" ideas have been "debunked." We aren't told that the movement's beliefs are stone-cold crazy, or that, by normal reckoning, QAnon adherents seem to be out of their minds.
In opinion and analysis formats, the Post does seem willing to let readers know what QAnon involves. But this is the Post's second attempt to describe the movement in a full-scale news report, and the Post has sanitized the movement's beliefs in this same way each time.
It's as we told you earlier this week. The fact that so many voters drink from the well of The Crazy is powerfully counterintuitive. For various reasons, our journalists will be inclined to shy away from this startling fact.
The very foundations of democratic theory are called into question by the crazy beliefs of the many QAnon adherents. In our view, journalists badly need to explore this matter—but, for various reasons, journalists will be inclined to duck this task.
Back to Candidate Biden's speech—but first, let's return to the Currys.
Why were the Currys featured on Thursday night's program? Why was a charming discussion between parents and daughters part of the final-night program?
For viewers of the Thursday program, that was largely left as a mystery. Indeed, the Curry weren't even introduced in any way. We spoke with a woman friend who had no idea who the Currys are, let alone why they were included late in Thursday's program.
We assume the answer to that question is related to something Candidate Biden said in the speech he very much seemed to believe. At one point, the candidate said this:
BIDEN (8/20/20): Here and now, I give you my word. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It’s time for us, for we the people, to come together. And make no mistake:Biden said he will be an American president. In a time of massive tribal loathing, we think that's a very important statement. You simply can't run a continental nation—you can't continue to have a nation—if citizens divide into identity groups determined to loathe each other.
United, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America. We’ll choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege.
I’m a proud Democrat and I’ll be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election. So with great honor and humility, I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America.
But while I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me. That’s the job of a president, to represent all of us, not just our base or our party.
This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment. Someone with the calls for hope and light and love, hope for our future, light to see our way forward and love for one another.
It's our best guess that this is why the Currys were featured on Thursday's program—and quite late in the program at that. (They appeared right after the Biden granddaughters.) To wit:
Stephen Curry is an extremely popular NBA superstar, but he and wife and are also Christians. (She's a celebrity chef.) They met in a church group when they were high school students in Charlotte.
(Stephen Curry was attending the Charlotte Christian School. Before that, he had attended the Christian Montessori School of Lake Norman, which his mother founded and runs.)
The wonderful segment with the Currys was chyroned thusly: "Keeping the Faith w/ The Currys." We'll guess that this was originally envisioned as an example of the Democratic Party's big cultural tent, but that somebody lost their nerve or their focus at some point along the way.
We say that because, as the segment was presented, there was little attempt to explain the reason for its inclusion. The Currys weren't introduced, nor was the purpose of the segment explained.
For ourselves, we don't have any religious or cosmological views, but we're perfectly glad that others do. We've made our peace with the fact that no one else will ever be quite as perfect as we are.
We're especially glad when we see religious belief issue in the kinds of behavior put on display during Thursday night's segment with the Currys. During that segment, the world saw children interacting with their parents in a very constructive way. This produced a bit of poetry from a young, developing mind.
Our own progressive world is increasingly intolerant of the others. In a sprawling continental nation, that can be an excellent way to lose elections, as we've proven in the past.
By normal reckoning, QAnon's many adherents seem to be out of their minds. That said, our own team isn't always much to write home about. In our view, it's generally a good idea to keep that fact in mind.
We had one other point to make, a point about something you didn't see during the convention. You didn't see or hear a lot about the problems confronting kids from less advantaged backgrounds.
As we've told you in the past, no one cares about any such kids, and no one wants to discuss them. Before we start to loathe the others, we should try to keep our own tribe's massive indifference in mind.